Written by Miles Cook
Photos courtesy of Proform
Proform’s list of available components is downright impressive. We’re talking carburetors, distributors, alternators, starters, harmonic balancers, valvetrain and cylinder-head bits, scales, gaskets, tools and more. However, it was one of the company’s heat exchangers that really caught our eye thanks to its cutting-edge design — the Slim-Fit radiator.
The basic concept of automotive radiators hasn’t changed for as long as most of us have been playing with cars. And cooling fans have been hung onto them in a number of often disjointed ways for just as long. Aside from materials and design improvements, it’s been pretty much status quo until now.
Proform is upending the radiator status quo with the introduction of its new Slim-Fit radiator system. The need to cobble together a core, a fan, possibly a shroud, and using up upward of eight inches of valuable front-to-back underhood space, sometimes leading to clearance problems has all but been eliminated.
Clearly Proform has completely re-thought how the radiator, fan, thermostat, and shroud can come together seamlessly to create a unified radiator system that’s less than four inches thick and looks and works great. Being up to 40-percent thinner, the Slim-Fit line is pre-assembled right out-of-the-box, ready for direct-fit into a wide variety of GM, Ford and Dodge/Plymouth cars. We would say that the hodge-podge of decades of rigged-up cooling components has come to an end.
Thanks to clever engineering, Proform flipped the fanmotor around so, instead of being on the outside, it’s integrated directly into a uniquely designed core made with state-of-the-art brazing technology (without any cooling compromise). The core itself is a hybrid combination of traditional dual 1-inch tubes, and full-core-width extruded tubes.
Combined with a high-performance fan inserted into a smooth aluminum shroud, the result is one of the industry’s thinnest and most streamlined setups. Every Slim-Fit radiator includes a shroud, an electric fan with an adjustable thermostat, a wiring harness, and a radiator cap.
“The Slim-Fit system really is innovative and definitely saves a fair amount of underhood real estate,” Ryan Salata, of Proform, explained. “Often you need upward of eight inches of room to fit everything. The Slim-Fit pretty much cuts that in half. We took the fan motor, put a hole in the center of the radiator and installed the motor into the center to get that added clearance.”
Perusing the Proform Website, we noticed all the usual applications that most of us know and love, including for both manual and automatic transmissions. Among others, this includes 1979-1993 Mustangs, three generations of Camaros from 1967-1992, 1968-1977 GM A-body cars like Chevelle/Malibu (including those with LS swaps), 1978-1987 GM G-body cars and S-10 trucks for V-8 swaps. There are also applications for many A-, B- and E- body Dodge and Plymouth models. In addition to these direct-fit versions, there are universal fitments as well.